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Fisheries: Navy

Volume 481: debated on Monday 27 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on what dates there have been no River Class offshore patrol vessels operating as part of the Fishery Protection Squadron since April; why there were no River Class offshore patrol vessels operating on each such date; what alternative provision was made available; and if he will make a statement. (228063)

The information is as follows:

21 July: HMS Severn suffered two breakdowns of its sea-boats in a 24-hour period on 20 July which resulted in the vessel having to anchor and await repairs/replacements by Vosper Thorneycroft. HMS Tyne was at stand-off on 20/21 July, between patrols. No alternative provision was required.

30 and 31 August: HMS Mersey was programmed to be on patrol on those days with a stand-off on 2 and 3 September. However, the stand-off dates for HMS Mersey were brought forward to 30 and 31 August so that it could participate fully in the Joint Deployment Plan for Cod in the North Sea, which commenced on 1 September. HMS Tyne was at stand-off on 30/31 August between patrols. No alternative provision was required.

On each of these occasions, the third River Class vessel was not programmed for duty, was not available and was not required.